United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) has warned of increased risks to human trafficking victims as the chaos due to the pandemic makes more people prone to exploitation.
Some trafficking victims are stuck at home and unable to go home due to sealed borders. These victims also risk catching the virus. Others are facing delays in legal proceedings, further abuse or neglect by the captors.
An increased number of children and young people are being forced on to the streets to find food and some income as schools and colleges have shut off the provision of shelter and nourishment.
A warning has also been issued against traffickers who may see this time of chaos as an opportunity to prey on people who are even more vulnerable than before because they have lost their source of income due to measures to control the virus.
Unfortunately, given that COVID-19 is restricting movement, diverting law enforcement resources, and reducing social and public services, human trafficking victims now have even less chances of escape and finding assistance.